A Beginner’s Guide to Camp Foley
Welcome to Foley! As two long time campers (with a combined 10 years at Foley), we know that coming to camp for the first time can be pretty intimidating. So from some formerly terrified first year campers to another, here’s a guide to help ease your fears as much as we wish ours could’ve been. Prepare to make this summer incredible!
First off, the packing list. Now, it’s pretty extensive and has a great outline for all you’ll be needing, but let’s get into the specifics. While some things are definitely necessary to bring with you to camp (deodorant, shampoo, sunscreen, etc.), other items are up for more personal preference, like swimsuits, for example. Although the Foley packing list says to only bring two swimsuits, this year we’ll be bringing three. We spend a lot of our day at the waterfront and prefer to avoid any situation where we might have to put on a cold, wet suit. If you’re like us, these next 1-4 weeks you’ll be spending a lot of time around the water. Believe us, you’ll want that 3rd suit! Next, your actual clothes. Bring some extra layers to put on during those cooler nights, and make sure to bring comfy clothes to wear around on the daily. Most importantly, bring clothes that you feel most comfortable in! To be honest, there will probably be 4-6 outfits that you’ll find yourself wearing almost every day. Make sure they’re ones you’re totally able to move around in, and make sure you don’t care about them too much (not all of our shirts have always survived). Pack some extra accessories, too! Personally, we always bring some sort of camera (to document all of the good times), letter-writing materials (send the Foley address to your friends and family so they can write you!), and friendship bracelet string. Above all, we bring tons of costumes. We can promise you that there will be more than enough opportunities to dress up in wild outfits– make sure to bring enough to stunt on everyone during all of Foley’s special events.
So the day finally arrives! You’re stepping out of the bus or car and into that blinding Minnesota sunshine. What should you expect? For starters, step out with an open mind. Be ready for new experiences. Let yourself be excited! In our opinion, it’s pretty impossible to not have a great time at camp, but making the most out of your time can really help you have the best time possible.
The first day is always a whirlwind of rules, introductions, campfire songs, and spaghetti. It can get to be overwhelming at times, especially if you’ve never been away from home for too long. It can also be really exciting! You get to meet all of the new people in your cabin (they won’t be new to you for too long, though), set up your bunk and unpack, and watch the crazy opening campfire skits. If you’re ever feeling too overwhelmed, talk to one of your counselors. They’re there to talk to you and help you through things- reach out to them!
On the first night, when you’re finally lying down in your bunk, surrounded by the people who are about to become your best friends, take a second to think about what you want to make sure to accomplish in the next few weeks. Set some goals for yourself to live up to. Try to do one thing every day that scares you. Get out of your comfort zone, talk to as many people as possible, put yourself out there! If there’s any place on earth to take risks and be yourself, it’s definitely camp.
Now- the first morning! The day before, you will have picked your first out of three schedules that you’ll have during your time at camp. When choosing those five activities, here’s what we recommend:
- Choose two things that you’ve never tried before.
- Choose two activities you know you love.
- And choose one activity that’s going to get you out of your comfort zone.
If you’re not sure where one of your activities begins, don’t be afraid to ask someone. People at camp are some of the friendliest people you’ll probably ever meet, and no one expects you to know where everything is on your first day. So ask around!
The next few weeks will go by in a blur. Win as many canteens as possible, laugh as much as you can and don’t bet that you’ll eat six pieces of Sodabread (believe us. It’s not worth it). Above all else, make sure to live in the moment. Enjoy the gorgeous nature surrounding you, enjoy the amazing time you have with the people around you, enjoy the little things that make camp what it is. Explore, be open, be curious!
Time spent at camp doesn’t match up to time spent at home. Days can feel as if they’ve gone by in a week, and weeks can feel like they’ve gone by in hours. At the end of your summer at Foley, it might feel as if it’s only been minutes since you first stepped out of that bus or car and into the sunshine. And you’re definitely going to leave already looking forward to what next year’s camp adventures have in store. So before you first walk out into your new home away from home, remember to make the most out of your time. We promise it’ll be worth it. Camp has been one of the most meaningful experiences in our lives, and we hope it’ll be the same for you. Can’t wait to see you this summer!
Faith and Grace 🙂